How to become a telephonist

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could take an introductory course like:

  • Level 1 Certificate in Customer Service
  • Level 2 Certificate in Contact Centre Operations

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

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You could do an intermediate apprenticeship in customer service.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

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Direct Application

There are no set requirements for applying directly for jobs, though employers may ask for some GCSEs. Basic computer skills and admin experience can be useful.

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Career tips

Temporary work can be a useful way to get started in this career and can lead to permanent jobs.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks will vary with the type of organisation you work for, but may include:

  • answering and connecting calls using a computerised switchboard system
  • testing lines and reporting faults
  • updating directories
  • taking and passing on messages
  • carrying out basic administration tasks
  • working in a team with 'front of house' staff

Working environment

You could work in a contact centre, in a reception area or in an office.

Career path and progression

With experience you could apply for jobs in a related area. You could apply for work as an administrator, customer services specialist or customer services supervisor.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Commercial Apprentice Ref: LS904

  • Wage: £192.00 Weekly
  • Location: Rotherham

Customer Service Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £124.50 - £180.00 Weekly
  • Location: Bradford

Courses In England

Are you interested in becoming a telephonist?

Search for training courses near you.

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

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